This post was written by Samson Ngugi.
“Exams…” The word you hear at the beginning of term and ignore. “Why care when its three months ahead?” You wonder. “I’ve still got a lot of time.” The inner voice consoles you, hoping you would say “It’s Netflix.” As time goes by, the mention of the word, starts stirring anxiety feelings.
I am not the one to fret exams, but I do share that fear.
As exams are used to test students, the biggest question that arises in any mind is “Am I good enough? I wonder whether I studied well enough, will my learning strategy work, and will I achieve my target grade?”
Slowly by slowly it starts mounting pressure despite how smart you believe you are. Students are different and so is their perspective about exam. Some want to be the best and sees exams as competition, others to impress those around them, such as parents and teachers, while some just want to pass and avoid… You know what.
Whatever the reason, you should know schooling is a way to acquire knowledge and exams helps you measure how well you are doing it. I personally use it to identify where I am wrong in my studying behaviours, make changes and put more effort.
Exams can be a cause of stress, especially if coupled with other personal and social issues. By this, I mean, maybe you are having a tough time due to personal problems, which are distracting you from studying for an exam.
Personally, I believe exam stress occurs eight time over the course of the term; Surprised?
–The first one, is the stress caused due to failure to reach the desired target during last term exam.
–Second, is the stress stirred in our brain whenever the word exam is said and deep down, you know you are not doing enough to prepare.
-The third type of exam stress is the one you have two weeks away from exams. This is when we fully acknowledge that you don’t have that much time.
–The fourth time you can experience stress is when there are only three days to the exam. You realize if you never studied good enough, the only way to save yourself would be to cram. This stress is present as the remaining time to exam runs out.
–The fifth exam stress usually happens shortly before exam starts. Here you really do struggle to push everything in bulks to your memory. When the exam starts, stress leads to panic and confusion. This is probably visible in the first thirty minutes of the exam, which involve going back and forth the questions until one’s stress is relieved. It is perhaps the worst time you should be having stress unless relieved early you can fail in an exam you could have passed. The best way to overcome this kind of stress is through positive self-affirmation. (more on this later).
-The sixth type of exam stress occurs when we finish the exams, and the questions linger in our brain, “Whether I answered that question properly?” Ask mates, search in a book or google toconfirm whether you answered correctly, and your stress spikes.
–The final exam stress is as you wait for results wondering whether we will reach our goal. Was it all in vain? When the results are out, your wishes or fear is realized. Some students pride themselves with good grades while others get stressed, knowing they will suffer for not reaching the target. Many schools offer re-sit, supplementary while others suspend and ask the student to repeat the whole term.
I don’t think of myself as a genius but since a tender age, I was always among the top in the class. Which surprisingly can happen to anyone who wishes to. What most people get wrong is that they think being academically excellent is natural, inherent or inborn and something determinant of the Intelligent Quotient. It’s not. It has never been.
I never believed it, not once. Albert Einstein did not become the greatest physicist by only reading whenever it’s three days to exam. No. He took the time to learn every day. The secret is LEARNING IS A JOURNEY, A PROCESS. The one which you have to take every single step regularly to reach your destiny.
To pass exams, or any academic competitions, you need to learn and practice every day. While studying the last minutes can help you pass some exams, in the longer term, you will fail not just in school but in your career life.
You don’t get to be perfect by rushing for success in the last minutes. In every marathon race, football game and or journey to Paris, every step count.
As Kyra points out, in her post “how to stay motivated to study”, you have to build good habits, the ones which incorporate study success in them.
Every move/action adds or deducts the odds of passing exams or anything you want to do in your life. As time gets by, you get better.
While finding self-motivation to study on your own can be hard, you can add the following to your to-do lists to ensure you pass an exam and in turn, reduce your stress.
Avoid social distractions
One of the biggest obstacles to concentrating on a self-study session is a social distraction. This could be your friends, siblings, schoolmates or even roommates. To avoid this tell them you are concerned about your academic study, talk to them and ask them to excuse you at a certain time every day because you will be studying.
Join study groups
Join an active study group, like-minded students who you share the same academic aspiration. Birds of the same feather flies…Designate times and places to study. These students will also share the same stresses as you and knowing others are in the same place, may help you settle.Find your study place
Find a quiet place and quiet time to study to minimize distraction. I particularly loved the idea of studying, starting at 3 am to around 7 am. Then later I begin studying from 9:30 Pm to around 12:30 pm. It is quiet then, I go to a study room or even the living room. No one’s there to disturb you. Switch off your social media, TV and read. Practice as much as possible.
*You don’t have to study during my time, find your quiet time and quiet place. I love mine because it leaves me free to do anything I want, the rest of the day. Sleep, watch or play.
Try audio learning
I learnt this from my favourite biology teacher, “Make an audio recording if you don’t have time to read and listen to them the whole day.” (Credits; Mr. Ken). It’s like listening to your podcast or music on Spotify only this time it is your voice. I promise you will be shocked to know your voice isn’t anything close to that of Ariana Grande.
The best way to avoid exam stress is to do enough preparedness for the exam. It does help to build knowledge, confidence and academic excellence in passing an exam. This is only possible if you study each and every day and practice hard using exam papers. Learn from the best academic resources and from the best teachers. I call it the ‘Einstein Way!’ Thank you!
About the Writer: Hi, my name is Samson, a writer and a content marketer. I love poems, flowers, short stories, movies and blogs. I ghostwrite blogs, articles, resume writing, eBooks, short stories, movie scripts and white papers… As a content marketer, I provide branding services, marketing research,business and academic consultation, personal branding, digital marketing services, LinkedIn Profile building, business plan and web content building. Check out my LinkedIn Profile.